What We Like
- Plenty of inputs/outputs.
- Good audio quality.
- Includes TotalMix software.
What We Don’t Like
- Somewhat expensive for what it offers.
- Only one headphone jack.
- Analog gain control can be a pain.
The RME Fireface UC is an audio interface stacked on top of a rack, giving you what might feel like super powers. But before you go chasing that feeling of power, let’s look at this device objectively.
The setup is simple and clean, which is always a good thing when it comes to audio interface designs. The top half of the interface clearly shows the inputs, levels, and whether a channel is clipping or not. Using LED lights, it shows you what inputs and outputs you’re using and if phantom power is engaged.
However, it has just one gain knob on the front that you push in order to select your desired channel, not including the master channel — that’s done digitally. This, for most engineers, could be annoying as you may have to push the knob multiple times just to get to the channel you want. And if you accidentally hit the button too many times, you’d have to go around the horn again.
As for the bottom half of the device, it couldn’t be simpler. It has an ON/OFF switch and then all the inputs clearly labelled. Plus, it has brackets in case you need to secure this to your studio’s interface board.
Sometimes you just need a lot of inputs — if you’re recording a band, a choir, or you just want to have multiple instruments mic’d or plugged in with separate channels. Fortunately, this interface has a good number of them (although having only one headphone output is a downer).
On all the inputs and outputs — both the digital and the analog — this device has sample rates up to 192kHz, so you’ll get the highest possible audio quality out there. In addition to having phantom power, the inputs are backed by two mic preamps to heighten the quality even more.
RME boasts “simply sensational” low-latencies during recording and playback, regardless of the operating system (Windows or Mac). And the included TotalMix software can make editing and mixing a pleasure. With it, you can mix using the 648-channel mixer, and easily route and distribute your channels.
The sound you get from this device is clean — good, but not great. Good is good, but it doesn’t necessarily stand out among the crowd of other professional interfaces. The AD and DA converters are top-notch, and the driver is rock solid, opening the door to some great audio quality.
Even though RME says the available latencies are superb, issues can occur and some users have reported this. It can be fixed within the DAW, but it’s a hassle to do so.
TotalMix, when used with many channels, can be really handy, especially for live audio. But some studio engineers may find it too complicated and elaborate. This, however, is more subjective.
Overall, the RME Fireface UC is a good audio interface. It has its cons — expensive, only has one headphone jack, no analog master gain knob, possible latency issues — but so does every interface. But consider this device a option.